While many women are taught to perform self-exams on their breasts and to be on the look out for lumps and bumps, they may not be aware of these other important cancer symptoms. In fact, Reader’s Digest recently named these 10 health changes as the “10 Early Signs That Cancer Is Growing In Your Body.”
Thanks to the media, these days, we are generally wise to the fact that a lump in the breast is something to get checked out, but swelling, redness, nipple changes or other breast abnormalities could all be early warning signs. You can check weekly for lumps in the comfort of your own shower by doing a self-examination.
You should not wait for your annual exam to check your breasts out when it is so simple to do it yourself. By checking yourself out weekly, you will learn your body better than any doctor and receive early treatment if something does feel abnormal.
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
More than 90% of women diagnosed with endometrial cancer experience irregular bleeding. If you have already undergone menopause, any bleeding — spotting included — should be evaluated. Haven’t gone through menopause yet? See your doctor if you experience bleeding between periods, heavy bleeding or bleeding during sex.
Non-bloody discharge is also a sign of uterine or endometrial cancer. Though only 10% of cases of uterine cancer were discovered because of not having blood in your vaginal discharge, there is still a slim chance that it could be something more serious. Anything abnormal down there needs to be checked out by your doctor.
Pain In The Pelvis Or Abdominal Area
Ongoing abdominal pain or discomfort — including gas, indigestion, pressure, bloating and cramps — can signal ovarian cancer. Feeling a mass in the pelvic or stomach area could be a sign of endometrial cancer. Normally, unexplained weight loss is associated with these symptoms as well. Though these issues normally occur in the later stages of the disease.
Regardless, the sooner you see a doctor the better your chances of a quick recovery. Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin is not common. The body has natural defenses, and if you sense something wrong, then you’re probably on the right track
Most women write off bloat as a symptom of menstruation, overeating, or just “having a fat day.” But frequent bloating could indicate ovarian cancer, which is sometimes referred to as a “silent killer” because of its vague cancer symptoms. More often than not, you’ll find yourself eating, not feeling full, and your pants don’t fit, then there is a problem.
If the bloating happens for more than three weeks, it is a sign of something more serious. Though the most serious case is ovarian cancer, on the lighter end it could turn out to be irritable bowel syndrome or a bad diet.
Skin Changes And Sores That Do Not Heal
Skin cancers may bleed and look like sores that don’t heal. A long-lasting sore in the mouth could be oral cancer. Regularly check any moles and watch for changes in shape, size or texture. Skin cancer usually develops in places of the body that was exposed to the sun.
However, there are instances where it can show up where the sun doesn’t touch the skin. Red or flesh colored moles called Merkel cell carcinomas are raised and grow quickly. These are small tumors that you should address with your doctor immediately so they can be removed.
Do one of your legs look or feel swollen for no apparent reason? This may be a sign of cervical cancer. Also called an edema, swelling is a buildup of water in the tissues that is caused by retaining salt and water caused by medicine or heart, liver, or kidney failure. It can also be caused by pelvic tumors, bad nutrition, or a blockage in the veins.
Those who have cancer will notice some serious changes to their bodies like swelling in only one leg or not being able to urinate regularly. Typically, though, a swollen leg isn’t a sign of cancer unless you also have pain, discharge or other cervical cancer symptoms. If you’re unsure, try staying away from salt, soy sauce, or msg for a day or two to see if anything changes.
Dark Vertical Stripes Along The Nail
Dark vertical stripes along the nail are one of the most obvious and dangerous warning signals your fingernails can send. Unfortunately, many people choose to overlook these dark stripes that emerge along with their nails. Why… because it does not cause them any pain.
Vertical stripes can indicate a form of skin cancer that affects only the nail bed, known as “Subungual Melanoma.” This is a deadly type of skin cancer which occurs among 20% of African Americans and only 1% of Caucasians. Normally, someone will notice an unsightly mole, but this type of Melanoma starts on the nail. The dark brown stripe normally started from the cuticle out to the free edge of the nail and will get wider as symptoms get worse.
Lower Back Pain
If you have no history of lower back pain and suddenly feel sharp, shooting back pains in the back area, then you should see a doctor immediately. Again, this common symptom could be mistaken for anything from a pulled muscle to a herniated disc, but can be serious when combined with other uncomfortable symptoms in women. It could be due to cervical cancer.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection that causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. The infections stem from the uterus which leads to pain in your lower back and hips. Most people do not realize they have HPV and sometimes it goes away with treatment, but it is important to get tested with your doctor especially if you have had multiple sexual partners. Getting regular pap smears, STI, and STD testing will ensure that you are prepared for potential cancer symptoms like lower back pain.
Fatigue is hard to pinpoint. It could be a sign of many illnesses, or simply a case of being overtired. However, if you are constantly tired, even when you are getting plenty of rest, then you should see a medical professional. Being tired from a long day and fatigue associated with cancer are different in that fatigue feels like your whole body is tired and regardless of what you do, you can never seem to get any rest.
Most people who experience this symptom get frustrated because they feel they cannot participate in normal activities like grocery shopping or going to the park with their family because the tiredness is too much for them to handle.
Chronic Digestive Issues
Ovarian cancer and IBS share many symptoms, including gas, constipation, and flatulence. If your symptoms last for weeks at a time, though, see a doctor. Don’t disregard the symptoms as a digestive issue, as it can be more serious. While digestive problems are known to be relatively harmless, persistent discomfort is a sign that medical intervention is needed.
Ovarian tumors are hard to detect as only 20 percent of cases are discovered early. It is because it is so similar to IBS that people disregard it as being cancer. The best way to know the difference is that IBS comes and goes, especially with your diet, but cancer gets progressively worse over time. Regardless, if you are having digestive issues, you should consult your doctor. Many medical issues start in the digestive tract.